Monday, July 21, 2014

I Am a Product of......

I Am a Product of....

On the recent 4th of July weekend, I came full circle before what has defined strength, resiliency, love for family, love for friends and love for community to me. I know why I love and care so hard because I am Panamanian and that is what we know for sure and do with all our might. I have been on the receiving end of many things but I feel a sense of peace, humility and gratitude that I have arrived at the door to receive the love of my Panamanian community.

As I stood before this beautiful audience it was clear to me that I was placed on this journey and that I am something, someone, is guiding my footsteps, my heart and my soul. For those who were not present and walk this journey with me, Much Love. I share with you part of my words on that special evening.

Thank you, Gracias, peace and blessings to all
I am called many things but I most proud of
I am the granddaughter of fierce, resilient men and women
I am the niece of loving and loyal men and women , one of them here with me tonight. Thanks Bobby and Thanks Priscilla for joining him.
I am the sister of a woman that loves unconditionally, and keeps me safe, Thank you sis , love you dearly
I am the sister of a man who is loyal and dedicated to those he cares about. Thanks Felix
I am the auntie of a young woman whose light will shine bright always, love you Chanel
I am the auntie to two young men who will move beyond what most will limit them to, love you Christiaan and Nicholas
I am a product of a great coach who taught me the true meaning of a TEAM, Thanks Coach Jones
I am the extension of a true Afro Panamanian warrior, Thanks Mr. Richards

I am the product of a friend who has been with me every step of the way, Thank you Veena.
I am a product of women who have taken me under the wings up close and far away, Loretta, Maya, Alice, Marta, Dorotea, Sonia, Marinieves, Ms.. Phyllis,  and so many more, thank you
I am product of people who have cared for me, and have taken care of me, Thanks Aminta and Mr. Cordoba  for being here tonight. Thanks Michele A. and many more.
I am a product of a Boston community that shaped me spiritually and politically and care for me- Thanks Chuck, Tony, Profe. James, Jemadari, Ester, Alan, Askia, Gigi, Anne, Rolanda, Sarah, Toshi, Christopher, Avital, Robyn, the Encuentro Diaspora Afro familia and many more.

A big thanks to the Boston Panamanian Association, Francisco, Josepha, Delia and many others for embracing me from the start
I am a friend, sister, Hermana girlfriend, lover, mentor
I am you all of you for their light and yours have brought me to this very place I stand in this evening.
My greatest gift and the light that guides and protects my footsteps most is that of my mother. Thank you Mama for making me see beyond and move beyond.
Next to that gift is my daily reminder that I am worthy of all good things, loving things. He is my biggest cheerleader and the reason I know, I am loved. Thanks daddy for every girl should be so lucky to be loved in such a special way by her father.
Thank you Reginaldo Quique Williams for this this honor which I accept with the resiliency, love and humility from those whose shoulders I stand on, those who have shaped me and those who walk with me.
To all Panamanians present, I love you. That love has taken me to places that I am able to tell our unique truly special story. We are a special people! My heart smiles back at me when I stand in the light of Panamanians.
I am a product of Colon, Rainbow City, it is through that love, that light, that I know What Keep getting up looks like. I dedicate this to you.
I know I am guided and protected by each of you. That has kept me on this road that flows as smoothly as the waters of Playa langosta and gets as bumpy as a bad street in Colon but like you, I keep getting up.
For some I see too much, say too much. I will continue, saying too much and seeing as much as I can. I will continue to speak truth.
Truth as a Black Panamanian woman says, I am in love with the complexity of what that means and I will not be blinded by the love and not see truth.
What does this mean? It means speaking on things that make us uncomfortable. I have learned that discomfort means change is coming and is possible. Truth can lead to change. The truth I am talking about is
1.       That this country we celebrate and call Patria once denied my grandparents citizenship
2.       The territory that taught me that I am Black and Proud is the same territory that made Black feel and look inferior
3.       We are product of a country that still struggles with Truth.  That truth is that we are part of the building and the growth of this country.  We continue to struggle with the acceptance of that story and that Panama looks like me.

In saying that and knowing that our narrative or the opening to OUR song, each of you present is We love BIG, we are blessed and well protected because we are truly a product of Kings and Queens that sailed our beautiful waters.

Thank you for making this Colon, Rainbow City girl feel loved and for finding the courage to put my love for you on paper.

I close with the words from one of my poems, You are Beautiful, Cause you are Panamanian.

In light and love,